Torn: Protector Her - Protect others - Protect Myself Print
Written by Jennie   

 I feel like a helpless child

Dear Mr. Mckillop,

I visited your website tonight. It is wonderful. I'm a 25 year old adult child of a mentally ill parent. I love my mother dearly, but my childhood was hell. I always felt that I had to be the protector; I had to protect my mother from herself. Until the time came when I had to protect myself.
I got myself out of the situation when I was 14. I went to live with my grandmother permanently and of my own choice. Although I have achieved an associate degree in nursing and am now a registered nurse, I feel that with better circumstances and better opportunities I could have gone much further and felt much less pain. I feel the emotional scars daily, but am healing. I'm trying to be a successful mother, wife, and nurse. However, the problem has gotten worse. I have three little sisters. The twins are 12 and the oldest is 14. My mother has never been truly "right", but she has managed to hold down the same job for 25 years. She has recently gone through a divorce from my stepfather and the father of my little sisters. Her mental status has once again taken a spill. I lived in the home with my mother and stepfather as long as I could. I love my sisters dearly. I want stability for them. I wanted stability for myself as a child. Since the divorce, my mother's mental status has steadily declined. She has been hospitalized a few times, but will not take the medication or continue with the therapy. I moved in with her and the girls for two weeks to see that they were being taken care of and to try to get my mother stabilized. The situation became detrimental to my daughter's well being. She is 6 years old, and does not understand why grandma would say, "There are beings that can float through walls and they go from house to house and rape women and young girls while they sleep." I brought my daughter back home. My older sister came up and stayed with my mother and the girls for about three weeks. My mother took the medication for a while and started to show improvement. My sister had to go back to the army. My mother has steadily declined over the last four months and I don't see any relief coming. I have come to the realization that I cannot make my mother well. She is not capable of understanding that she is ill. She has ideas of grandiosity and feels that she is gifted by God. I am concerned for my sisters. They are at the age I was when I first attempted suicide. My older sister attempted suicide as well. We have both done heavy experimentation with drugs. I feel that we were very lucky to have made it this far in life and be as well rounded as we are. I am concerned that my younger sisters may not be so lucky. They are very intelligent and loving. They have wonderful values and goals. They are amazing. One of them has talked to me about wishing to die. Two of them have expressed to me that they want out of the home, but feel that my mother's condition will worsen if they leave. The other one is very shy, somewhat withdrawn and tells me that she has no desire to leave for hope that if she does the right thing and stays with our mom that she will get better. I am contemplating involving DHS and am currently searching for an attorney to see if I have any chance at taking custody. However, I am extremely concerned whether this will just do more emotional damage to the girls. If my mother were to get worse, maybe commit suicide after the children were removed from the home, they will feel that they caused this. I can deal with mentally ill patients and their families in a professional manner, but when it comes to my mom I forget everything I have learned in school. I feel like a helpless child. My heart is broken. I want to do what is best.